Who doesn’t love spoiling their furry best friend? With all of the handsome bowties, adorable outfits, cute leashes, and yummy treats on the market today, we seem to have endless options when it comes to products for our pets. But if we aren’t careful, all of those product and resources could make our four-legged pals’ carbon “pawprint” a problem.
But with the right shopping philosophy (like buying things to last), product research, and a commitment to reduce waste, we can help limit our pets’ impact on the environment. To celebrate Earth Day, we’ve highlighted some standout brands that are making sustainability for pet parents a little bit easier, and in turn, making the planet a better place we can enjoy with our animals for years to come.
Gear and Supplies
Frustrated with a lack of everyday pet items that fit their lifestyles, individual style, and sustainability standards, Awoo founders Mallory MacDonald and Francine Evans decided they could evolve the last generation of pet accessories with a holistic, full-cycle approach by focusing on quality, ethicality, and sustainability, rather than flooding the market with product. “We don’t ever launch an item just to have more products out there. We launch a product because we believe it fills a need,” MacDonald tells Daily Paws.
Their signature infinity leash, which can be used in 10 different ways, is made entirely of eco-friendly materials. Plus, Awoo personally vets every manufacturer they work with to ensure good working conditions, fair hours, and fair wages. Lastly, Awoo looks to their customer to play an active part as well, with their upcoming Repawpose program—to receive a discount, the customer ships used products back to Awoo instead of throwing them out, so the materials can be recycled and used again. Awoo’s sustainability efforts are, quite literally, a 360-degree effort.
The gentle, botanical scents of Earthbath grooming products are enough to get your attention (green tea, lavender, mango, eucalyptus), but we guarantee that you’ll also fall in love with the formulas themselves—plant-derived and coconut-based cleansers, essential oils, and organic ingredients. Their formulas are concentrated to use less water in the manufacturing process, plus they use recyclable packaging and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and landfill impact.
The Foggy Dog
The Foggy Dog creates beautiful, modern dog bandanas, collars, leashes, toys, and beds with the millennial pet parent in mind. The dog beds and toys are stuffed with 100-percent recycled fiber spun from plastic bottles, and they work to minimize waste by using recycled materials, repurposed fabric scraps, and natural fabrics when possible. Even better? With every purchase, they donate half a pound of food to shelters across the U.S.
Luxury meets sustainability in Harry Barker—an eco-friendly pet lifestyle, home, and accessory brand, whose fans include Sandra Bullock and Gisele Bündchen. The brand offers signature leashes, collars, beds, bins, and toys with a classic yet whimsical aesthetic. But at the core of the brand is their commitment to pets and the planet. Designed to last and ultimately create less waste, their products feature high-quality, earth-friendly fabrics, azo-free dyes, eco-fleece and “green” bed inserts made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled plastics. The brand also carries biodegradable poop bags, which fit most dispensers and make for a simple way to help the planet.
If you’re deep into the current athleisure trends or if you simply need matching hoodies for you and your pooch, House Dogge—a Black-owned, woman-owned small business—is a brand worth checking out. Former Nike designer Angela Medlin has not only created an aesthetic that’s truly unique to the pet industry, but she has done it in a sustainable way. The brand not only uses eco-friendly, biodegradable, chemical-free fabrics and materials in an effort to be sustainable, but they take it a step further by using small-batch production.
Small-batch production is exactly what it sounds like—making product in small batches, which significantly cuts down both product waste (excess material, defective units, etc.) and production waste (water, energy, electricity, etc.). Prioritizing comfort and easy care, the brand offers customizable items and bold statement items (these hoodies made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things list!). And the cherry on top—a portion of every sale is donated to rescue organizations.
Food and Treats
Jiminy’s believes it has the answer to reducing the environmental impact of pet food. Their solution? Crickets. Or more broadly, insects. The company is defined by its innovative use of insect protein in pet food and treats, and according to the company, if you switch from a chicken-based diet to an insect-based diet, it saves 480,000 gallons of water per year. Be sure to have a chat with your vet before incorporating insect-based food into your dog’s diet.
RELATED: Raw Food Diet for Dogs: Good or Bad?
Made with recycled paper, Purina’s Yesterday’s News cat litter is good for your home, the planet, and your cat. The recycled paper means no dust in your home, it’s gentle on your cat’s paws, and it absorbs three times the moisture by volume than traditional clay-based litter. It also means the paper is diverted from landfills, making it a great biodegradable option. The litter comes in recyclable bags and three different texture options: soft, clumping, or original.
Your pee-pad game will never be the same, thanks to the ingenious Bark Potty—a sustainable alternative to your run-of-the-mill pee pad made with plastic. It is made with real bark and actually neutralizes odors for up to four weeks at a time. “I think that was one of the most amazing ‘a-ha’ moments I had when we were testing it,” Bark Potty CEO & Founder Natalie Youn tells Daily Paws. “I know that many of our customers place their potty indoors because of apartment living, and smell is a big issue with potty solutions. So not having odor even after weeks of use was a huge win.”
Its lined tray also prevents kick-ups and leaks so you don’t have any overflow messes to clean up. Just one Bark Potty replaces up to sixty pee pads, a staggering reduction in waste. Bark Potty’s environmental efforts don’t stop there—the bark’s supplier is part of the Forest Stewardship Council, which manages the forest in a responsible and sustainable manner. Bark Potty is also a part of 1% for the Planet, a global community of organizations committed to supporting environmental non-profits by donating a percentage of their sales. Youn sums it up eloquently: “As a business owner, it makes me proud to be able to do what I can to support a healthy planet.”
Pooch Paper is an eco-friendly way to pick up after your dog that’s made in the U.S. from recycled non-chlorine bleach paper fiber. Unlike other doggy-doo bags made from plastic that sits in landfills for hundreds of years, it’s 100-percent biodegradable and compostable (in either an industrial grade municipality composter or your background garden). The manufacturing process uses renewable energy sources, and the paper plant they work with is carbon neutral and accredited for sustainable forestry.
This handy little tool eliminates excuses for picking up after your dog (unless, of course, you forget a bag). The dooloop clips right onto your leash, and the loop design makes it easy to slip a bag of dog poop in the loop, freeing your hands so you don’t have to swing around that bag of poop. This nifty little device leaves your hands free for a cup of coffee, an umbrella, waving to your neighbors, or holding your phone. Hopefully not having to carry around the poop bag will encourage more dog owners to pick up after their pets as dog poop can be harmful to the health of natural areas.